Churches December 2022
St Helen's Church
Thought for the Month
We are five days in to the season of Advent, preparing for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Shops and adverts have been promoting Christmas since mid-November, we seem to lose all sense of time and anticipation because we can do things when we want and everything is at the push of a button these days.
Advent is that time to press the pause button and to allow ourselves to stop for a while and to cut ourselves off from the distractions of this world - people pushing and pulling us in all different directions. It is a time to listen to the voice of God, but also to listen to our body telling us to slow down.
Constantly in the Advent and Christmas Scripture passages the theme is about listening. A voice crying in the wilderness to prepare a way for the Lord. The Angel Gabriel speaking to a frightened young Mary, telling her that she will be the Mother of Jesus. Joseph has the dream in which the Angel tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The Shepherds listen to the throng of Angel-hosts who tell them about the baby born in Bethlehem.
In these days leading to Christmas, when there are a 101 things that need doing, put time in your day to sit down and enjoy the peace and quiet, even if just for ten minutes.
At this time of year when we talk about goodwill to all, it can usually turn in to ill-will, tensions rise, life can become fraught, we might find we cannot get what we want from the supermarket or Amazon. People might even fight over the last Brussel Sprouts!
When we strip back to the essence of Christmas it is about love, a love that God has for his people in sending a vulnerable baby as saviour of the world. It is a love to share with one another, a time of reaching out to those in need and those who might struggle at Christmas and to think especially this year of those struggling with the cost of living.
May this year be a time of rediscovering the true meaning of Advent and Christmas - it’s not about the expense and extravagance, but a time to remember that the greatest gift we can give is the gift of self, a gift of selfless love.
Father Shaun Purdy, St Thomas of Canterbury